COPD and Asthma may be effectively treated with Fermentable Fiber

COPD and Asthma may be effectively treated with Fermentable Fiber

“For several years now the Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs has been leading world research into the link between dietary fibre and healthy lungs. Our previous research has established how fibre supplements can be used to treat asthma. Now, our findings suggest fibre could be used to not just treat but also help prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),”

#COPD #ASTHMA #Fiber

The Annual Scientific Meeting for Leaders in Lung Health & Respiratory Science 29 March – 2 April 2019 (TSANZSRS 2019 )

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-04/uots-aru040419.php

Doctors Group Sues FDA over ( Daxas, Daliresp) , Roflumilast for COPD

Highlights:

-Physicians for Integrity in Medical Research says in its federal complaint against Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg

– best-case scenario showed that roflumilast reduced the number of exacerbations by one episode a year for every five patients treated

– the regulator ignored the “statistically significant increase in incidents of prostate and lung cancer in patients taking roflumilast.”

———- Possible safe Option Vinpocetine

-Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences vinpocetine has great potential for the treatment of COPD and other inflammatory diseases.”

-has no evidence of toxicity or noticeable side effects in human patients Continue reading “Doctors Group Sues FDA over ( Daxas, Daliresp) , Roflumilast for COPD”

Doctors Group Sues FDA, Saying Drug Does More Harm Than Good

roflumilast, a drug used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

English: Logo of the .
English: Logo of the . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 

By ELIZABETH WARMERDAM

 

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A physicians group sued the U.S. FDA, seeking revocation of FDA approval of roflumilast, a drug used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Continue reading “Doctors Group Sues FDA, Saying Drug Does More Harm Than Good”

Is laughter really the best medicine?

Contact: Stephanie Burns sburns@bmj.com 44-020-738-36920 BMJ-British Medical Journal

Food for thought: Laughter and MIRTH (methodical investigation of risibility, therapeutic and harmful): Narrative synthesis

Laughter may not be the best medicine after all and can even be harmful to some patients, suggests the authors of a paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.

Researchers from Birmingham and Oxford, in the UK, reviewed the reported benefits and harms of laughter. They used data published between 1946 and 2013. They concluded that laughter is a serious matter.

They identified benefits from laughter; harms from laughter; and conditions causing pathological laughter. Continue reading “Is laughter really the best medicine?”

Vitamin C could ease muscle fatigue in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients

Contact: Donna Krupa dkrupa@the-aps.org American Physiological Society

Bethesda, Md. (Nov. 7, 2013)—Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—a health problem in which the lungs lose their inherent springiness, making it progressively harder to breathe—can have a dramatic effect on the ability to exercise and even perform simple activities of daily life because of the disease’s fallout effects on skeletal muscles. Several factors have been implicated in these muscle problems. These include loss of fitness from inactivity, problems with the part of cells that convert fuel to energy caused by the COPD itself, and oxidative stress, a phenomenon in which cells and tissues become damaged by unstable molecules called free radicals that harm other molecules in domino-like chain reactions. Some research suggests that easing oxidative stress could improve skeletal muscle function.

To test this idea, researchers led by Matthew J. Rossman of the George E. Whalen VA Medical Center and the University of Utah gave COPD patients intravenous (IV) infusions of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can combat oxidative stress, or saline as a placebo before the patients performed knee extension exercises and underwent neuromuscular function tests. Their findings show that IV infusions of vitamin C can improve skeletal muscle fatigue in COPD patients, further implicating the role of oxidative stress in the skeletal muscle problems that accompany this disease.

The article is entitled “Ascorbate Infusion Increases Skeletal Muscle Fatigue Resistance in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease“. It appears in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.

Methodology

The researchers worked with 10 COPD patients. Each patient performed a set of knee extension exercises, receiving either an IV infusion of saline or an IV infusion of vitamin C before the set, but both the study volunteers and the researchers monitoring the exercises didn’t know which infusion the volunteers received. Two to three days later, the volunteers performed a second set of knee exercises after receiving the other type of infusion. Before and after they performed these exercises, the study subjects had blood drawn to test for antioxidant levels. Immediately after the exercises, the researchers measured a variety of other factors, including the volunteers’ breathing and heart rate, blood pressure, feelings of exertion of breathlessness, and blood flow.

Results

The researchers found that during exercises, patients had significantly less muscle fatigue after receiving vitamin C and breathed better and slower. After vitamin C infusions, the volunteers also had significantly higher blood antioxidant activity than when they received only saline. Additionally, vitamin C infusions lowered their resting blood pressure and blood flow.

Importance of the Findings

These findings suggest that IV infusions of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, can curb the skeletal muscle fatigue that plagues COPD patients. They also provide further evidence that oxidative stress plays a critical role in the skeletal muscle dysfunction that many COPD patients experience. They suggest that antioxidants could eventually be used as a treatment for these problems.

“Targeting oxidative stress with some form of antioxidant therapy in a clinical setting may represent an important therapeutic avenue for patients with COPD,” they write.

###

Study Team

In addition to Matthew J. Rossman, the study team also includes Ryan S. Garten, J. Jonathan Groot, Van Reese, Jia Zhao, Markus Amann, and Russell S. Richardson, all of the George E. Whalen VA Medical Center and the University of Utah.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues, and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first US society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 11,000 members and publishes 14 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.

NOTE TO EDITORS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact Donna Krupa at dkrupa@the-aps.org, @Phyziochick, or 301.634.7209. The article is available online at http://bit.ly/1bZiW5W.

New mechanism for relaxing airways using bitter tasting substances

Contact: Bryan Ghosh bghosh@plos.org 44-122-344-2837 Public Library of Science

A team of scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have found that substances which give some foods their bitter flavors can also act to reverse the contraction of airway cells. This reversal, known as bronchodilation, is needed to treat airway obstructive diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The new findings, which could have significant implications for such treatments, are published March 5 in the open access journal PLOS Biology.

The sense of taste is mediated by taste receptor cells bundled in our taste buds. These receptors were thought to only exist in the tongue, but recent discoveries have shown that they are actually expressed in various cell types throughout the body. In particular, bitter taste receptors exist in smooth muscle cells in the airway, acting to relax the cells when exposed to bitter-tasting substances.

A hallmark of an asthma attack is excessive contraction of these smooth muscle cells, which causes narrowing of the airways and breathing difficulties. The fact that bitter substances can relax these smooth muscle cells suggests that they may have the potential to halt asthma attacks, and in fact could even be an improvement over current treatments since the relaxation effects are quite fast. Indeed, experiments in mice suggest that the effects are stronger.

However, the mechanisms through which bitter taste receptor activation leads to cell relaxation were unknown. To help unravel these mechanisms, Dr. Ronghua ZhuGe and his colleagues examined the effect of bitter substances on the contraction of airways and in single isolated cells.

During an asthma attack, membrane channels on smooth muscle cells in the airways are opened, allowing calcium to flow into the cell and causing the cell to contract. This leads to the airways becoming narrower, and making breathing more difficult. Dr. ZhuGe and colleagues determined that bitter substances shut down these calcium channels, allowing bronchodilation.

Bitter taste receptors, like most receptors, span the plasma membrane of the cell. Part of the receptor is outside the cell, able to bind to (and hence “sense”) bitter substances outside the cell. When a bitter compound binds to a bitter taste receptor, the receptor releases a G-protein, which then splits into two parts: a G alpha subunit and G beta-gamma dimer. “It is the G beta-gamma dimer that likely acts to close the calcium channels on the plasma membrane,” explained Kevin Fogarty, director of the Biomedical Imaging Group in the Program in Molecular Medicine at UMMS, and a co-author of the study. “Once the channels are closed, the calcium level returns to normal and the cell relaxes,” he said. “This ends the asthma attack.”

“With this new understanding of how bitter substances are able to relax airways, we can focus our attention on studying these receptors and on finding even more potent bitter compounds with the potential to be used therapeutically to end asthma attacks,” said Dr. ZhuGe.

###

Funding: The study was supported by NIH grant RO1 HL73875 to Ronghua ZhuGe. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation: Zhang C-H, Lifshitz LM, Uy KF, Ikebe M, Fogarty KE, et al. (2013) The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Bitter Tastant-Induced Bronchodilation. PLOS Biol 11(3): e1001501. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001501

CONTACT:

Jim Fessenden UMass Medical School Communications Tel: 508-856-2000 james.fessenden@umassmed.edu

Frequently prescribed drug used in concerning ways with harmful side effects: i.e. Death – benzodiazepines

Contact: Kate Taylor TaylorKa@smh.ca 647-393-7527 St. Michael’s Hospital

TORONTO, Feb. 6, 2013—A popular class of drugs commonly used to treat sleep and mood symptoms continues to be frequently prescribed despite being known to have potentially life-threatening side effects.

Previous studies have linked benzodiazepines – a medication class that may be used in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to treat symptoms of insomnia, depression, anxiety and shortness of breath – with adverse outcomes, but until now there has been little information on how frequently it’s prescribed or who is using it.

COPD, also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, is most commonly caused by smoking in North America and is estimated to affect 5 to10 per cent of the Canadian population. American Thoracic Society-European Respiratory Society guidelines recommend that benzodiazepines be avoided in these  patients because of potential respiratory-related side-effects.

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris is the lead author of a study published this week in Drugs and Aging looking at the scope of benzodiazepine use in the older adult COPD population to determine just how many people are using the drug.

“I see a large number of COPD patients taking this medication class to help relieve disease-related symptoms like insomnia, depression and anxiety,” said Dr. Vozoris, a respirologist at St. Michael’s Hospital. “But considering the potential respiratory side-effects, and the well-documented neurocognitive side effects like memory loss, decreased alertness, falls and increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, the high frequency of benzodiazepine use in COPD is very concerning.”

Dr. Vozoris and colleagues looked at more than 100,000 adults 66 years and older with COPD in Ontario between 2004 and 2009 to see how many new benzodiazepines were dispensed and the severity of each patients’ COPD while on the drug.

The results found that new benzodiazepine dispensing was common and occurred in more than a third of the adults. Use of the drugs was 40 per cent more common amongst those with more severe COPD. This group also had the highest number of repeat prescriptions and early refills and benzodiazepines were also commonly dispensed to patients while they were having flare-ups of the disease.

“These findings are new and they are concerning because they tell us that the patients most at risk to be affected by the adverse effects of this drug are the same ones that are using it with the most frequency,” Dr. Vozoris said. “This medication could be causing harm in this already respiratory-vulnerable population.”

Although benzodiazepines can be effective for helping patients sleep, this medication class has been previously found to affect breathing ability and oxygen levels at night.

“Patients need to hear this and health care providers need to give thought into who they are prescribing this medication class to,” Dr. Vozoris said. “We’re talking about a very vulnerable sub-group and we may be inappropriately prescribing this medication class to those patients.”

###

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Center, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

For more information, or to speak to Dr. Vozoris please contact:

Kate Taylor  Communications Adviser St. Michael’s Hospital  Phone: 416-864-6060 x. 6537 TaylorKa@smh.ca Inspired Care. Inspiring Science www.stmichaelshospital.com

The respirology clinics at St. Michael’s Hospital and inpatient beds, now located in some of the older wings, will be moving into the new patient care tower on the corner of Queen and Victoria Street in downtown Toronto in 2018.

Long-term use of vitamin E may decrease COPD risk

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society

ATS 2010, NEW ORLEANS— Long-term, regular use of vitamin E in women 45 years of age and older may help decrease the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by about 10 percent in both smokers and non-smokers, according to a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“As lung disease develops, damage occurs to sensitive tissues through several proposed processes, including inflammation and damage from free radicals,” said Anne Hermetet Agler, doctoral candidate with Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. “Vitamin E may protect the lung against such damage.”

The results of the study will be presented at the ATS 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.

“The findings from our study suggest that increasing vitamin E prevents COPD,” said Ms. Agler. “Previous research found that higher intake of vitamin E was associated with a lower risk of COPD, but the studies were not designed to answer the question of whether increasing vitamin E intake would prevent COPD. Using a large, randomized controlled trial to answer this question provided stronger evidence than previous studies.”

Ms. Agler and colleagues reviewed data compiled by the Women’s Health Study, a multi-year, long-term effort ending in 2004 that focused on the effects of aspirin and vitamin E in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer in nearly 40,000 women aged 45 years and older. Study participants were randomized to receive either 600 mg of vitamin E or a placebo every other day during the course of the research.

Although fewer women taking vitamin E developed COPD, Ms. Agler noted the supplements appeared to have no effect on asthma, and women taking vitamin E supplements were diagnosed with asthma at about the same rate as women taking placebo pills. Importantly, Ms. Agler noted the decreased risk of COPD in women who were given vitamin E was the same for smokers as for non-smokers.

Ms. Agler said further research will explore the way vitamin E affects the lung tissue and function, and will assess the effects of vitamin E supplements on lung diseases in men.

“If results of this study are borne out by further research, clinicians may recommend that women take vitamin E supplements to prevent COPD,” Ms. Agler noted. “Remember that vitamin E supplements are known to have detrimental effects in some people; for example vitamin E supplementation increased risk of congestive heart failure in cardiovascular disease patients. Broader recommendations would need to balance both benefits and risks. ”

 

###

 

“Randomized Vitamin E Supplementation and Risk of Chronic Lung Disease (CLD) in the Women’s Health Study” (Session C103, Tuesday, May 18, 1:30- 4:00 p.m., CC-Room 353-355 (Third Level), Morial Convention Center; Abstract 3727)

82nd Health Research Report 31 MAY 2010 – Reconstruction

Health Research Report

82nd Issue 31 May 2010

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm www.facebook.com/engineeringevil

www.engineeringevil.com

In this Issue:

1. Long-term use of vitamin E may decrease COPD risk

2. Eating processed meats, but not unprocessed red meats, may raise risk of heart disease and diabetes

3. Most patients survive common thyroid cancer regardless of treatment

4. ‘Fountain of youth’ steroids could protect against heart disease. Such as Pregnenolone and DHEA

5. New evidence caffeine may slow Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, restore cognitive function

6. High-fat ketogenic diet effectively treats persistent childhood seizures

7. Study: Yogurt-like drink DanActive reduced rate of common infections in daycare children

8. Estrogen-lowering drugs minimize surgery in breast cancer patients

9. Prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to breast cancer

10. Anti-aging supplements may be best taken not too late in life

11. Folate prevents alcohol-induced congenital heart defects in mice

12. LSUHSC researcher finds surprising link between sugar in drinks and blood pressure

13. Dangerous lung worms found in people who eat raw crayfish

14. Some bisphosphonates users unfamiliar with drug’s possible side effects on oral health

15. You have no natural right to food

 

Public release date: 16-May-2010

Long-term use of vitamin E may decrease COPD risk

ATS 2010, NEW ORLEANS— Long-term, regular use of vitamin E in women 45 years of age and older may help decrease the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by about 10 percent in both smokers and non-smokers, according to a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“As lung disease develops, damage occurs to sensitive tissues through several proposed processes, including inflammation and damage from free radicals,” said Anne Hermetet Agler, doctoral candidate with Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. “Vitamin E may protect the lung against such damage.”

The results of the study will be presented at the ATS 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.

“The findings from our study suggest that increasing vitamin E prevents COPD,” said Ms. Agler. “Previous research found that higher intake of vitamin E was associated with a lower risk of COPD, but the studies were not designed to answer the question of whether increasing vitamin E intake would prevent COPD. Using a large, randomized controlled trial to answer this question provided stronger evidence than previous studies.”

Ms. Agler and colleagues reviewed data compiled by the Women’s Health Study, a multi-year, long-term effort ending in 2004 that focused on the effects of aspirin and vitamin E in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer in nearly 40,000 women aged 45 years and older. Study participants were randomized to receive either 600 mg of vitamin E or a placebo every other day during the course of the research.

Although fewer women taking vitamin E developed COPD, Ms. Agler noted the supplements appeared to have no effect on asthma, and women taking vitamin E supplements were diagnosed with asthma at about the same rate as women taking placebo pills. Importantly, Ms. Agler noted the decreased risk of COPD in women who were given vitamin E was the same for smokers as for non-smokers.

Ms. Agler said further research will explore the way vitamin E affects the lung tissue and function, and will assess the effects of vitamin E supplements on lung diseases in men.

“If results of this study are borne out by further research, clinicians may recommend that women take vitamin E supplements to prevent COPD,” Ms. Agler noted. “Remember that vitamin E supplements are known to have detrimental effects in some people; for example vitamin E supplementation increased risk of congestive heart failure in cardiovascular disease patients. Broader recommendations would need to balance both benefits and risks. ”

Public release date: 17-May-2010

Eating processed meats, but not unprocessed red meats, may raise risk of heart disease and diabetes

Boston, MA – In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating processed meat, such as bacon, sausage or processed deli meats, was associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, the researchers did not find any higher risk of heart disease or diabetes among individuals eating unprocessed red meat, such as from beef, pork, or lamb. This work is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the worldwide evidence for how eating unprocessed red meat and processed meat relates to risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

“Although most dietary guidelines recommend reducing meat consumption, prior individual studies have shown mixed results for relationships between meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” said Renata Micha, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and lead author of the study. “Most prior studies also did not separately consider the health effects of eating unprocessed red versus processed meats.”

The study appears online May 17, 2010, on the website of the journal Circulation.

The researchers, led by Renata Micha, a research fellow in the department of epidemiology, and HSPH colleagues Dariush Mozaffarian, assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and Sarah Wallace, junior research fellow in the department of epidemiology, systematically reviewed nearly 1,600 studies. Twenty relevant studies were identified, which included a total of 1,218,380 individuals from 10 countries on four continents (United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia).

The researchers defined unprocessed red meat as any unprocessed meat from beef, lamb or pork, excluding poultry. Processed meat was defined as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives; examples include bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats. Vegetable or seafood protein sources were not evaluated in these studies.

The results showed that, on average, each 50 gram (1.8 oz) daily serving of processed meat (about 1-2 slices of deli meats or 1 hot dog) was associated with a 42% higher risk of developing heart disease and a 19% higher risk of developing diabetes. In contrast, eating unprocessed red meat was not associated with risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. Too few studies evaluated the relationship between eating meat and risk of stroke to enable the researchers to draw any conclusions.

“Although cause-and-effect cannot be proven by these types of long-term observational studies, all of these studies adjusted for other risk factors, which may have been different between people who were eating more versus less meats,” said Mozaffarian. “Also, the lifestyle factors associated with eating unprocessed red meats and processed meats were similar, but only processed meats were linked to higher risk.”

“When we looked at average nutrients in unprocessed red and processed meats eaten in the United States, we found that they contained similar average amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. In contrast, processed meats contained, on average, 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives,” said Micha. “This suggests that differences in salt and preservatives, rather than fats, might explain the higher risk of heart disease and diabetes seen with processed meats, but not with unprocessed red meats.”

Dietary sodium (salt) is known to increase blood pressure, a strong risk factor for heart disease. In animal experiments, nitrate preservatives can promote atherosclerosis and reduce glucose tolerance, effects which could increase risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Given the differences in health risks seen with eating processed meats versus unprocessed red meats, these findings suggest that these types of meats should be studied separately in future research for health effects, including cancer, the authors said. For example, higher intake of total meat and processed meat has been associated with higher risk of colorectal cancer, but unprocessed red meat has not been separately evaluated. They also suggest that more research is needed into which factors (especially salt and other preservatives) in meats are most important for health effects.

Current efforts to update the United States government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are often a reference for other countries around the world, make these findings particularly timely, the researchers say. They recommend that dietary and policy efforts should especially focus on reducing intake of processed meat.

“To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should consider which types of meats they are eating. Processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed deli meats may be the most important to avoid,” said Micha. “Based on our findings, eating one serving per week or less would be associated with relatively small risk.”

Public release date: 17-May-2010

Most patients survive common thyroid cancer regardless of treatment

Individuals with papillary thyroid cancer that has not spread beyond the thyroid gland appear to have favorable outcomes regardless of whether they receive treatment within the first year after diagnosis, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Papillary thyroid cancer is commonly found on autopsy among individuals who died of other causes, according to background information in the article. “Studies published as early as 1947 demonstrated it, and more recently, a report has shown that nearly every thyroid gland might be found to have a cancer if examined closely enough,” the authors write. “The advent of ultrasonography and fine-needle aspiration biopsy has allowed many previously undetected cancers to be identified, changing the epidemiology of the disease. Over the past 30 years, the detected incidence of thyroid cancer has increased three-fold, the entire increase attributable to papillary thyroid cancer and 87% of the increase attributable to tumors measuring less than 2 centimeters.”

Louise Davies, M.D., M.S., of Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, N.H. and Gilbert Welch, M.D., M.P.H., both also of Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, Vt., and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Hanover, studied cancer cases and individual treatment data from National Cancer Institute registries. They then tracked cause of death through the National Vital Statistics System.

The researchers identified 35,663 patients with papillary thyroid cancer that had not spread to the lymph nodes or other areas at diagnosis. Of these, 440 (1.2 percent) did not undergo immediate, definitive treatment. Over an average of six years of follow-up, six of these patients died of their cancer. This was not significantly different from the rate of cancer death among the 35,223 individuals who did undergo treatment (161 over an average of 7.6 years of follow-up).

The 20-year survival rate from cancer was estimated to be 97 percent for those who did not receive treatment and 99 percent for those who did. “These data help put management decisions about localized papillary thyroid cancer in perspective: papillary thyroid cancers of any size that are confined to the thyroid gland, have no lymph node metastases at presentation and do not show extraglandular extension [reach beyond the thyroid gland] are unlikely to result in death due to the cancer,” the authors write.

“Thus, clinicians and patients should feel comfortable considering the option to observe for a year or longer cancers that fall into this category,” they conclude. “When treatment is elected, the cancers in this category can be managed with either hemithyroidectomy [removal of part of the thyroid] or total thyroidectomy [removal of the complete gland], and the prognosis will be the same.”

Public release date: 17-May-2010

‘Fountain of youth’ steroids could protect against heart disease

Such as Pregnenolone and DHEA

A natural defence mechanism against heart disease could be switched on by steroids sold as health supplements, according to researchers at the University of Leeds.

The University of Leeds biologists have identified a previously-unknown ion channel in human blood vessels that can limit the production of inflammatory cytokines – proteins that drive the early stages of heart disease.

They found that this protective effect can be triggered by pregnenolone sulphate – a molecule that is part of a family of ‘fountain-of-youth’ steroids. These steroids are so-called because of their apparent ability to improve energy, vision and memory.

Importantly, collaborative studies with surgeons at Leeds General infirmary have shown that this defence mechanism can be switched on in diseased blood vessels as well as in healthy vessels.

So-called ‘fountain of youth’ steroids are made naturally in the body, but levels decline rapidly with age. This has led to a market in synthetically made steroids that are promoted for their health benefits, such as pregnenolone and DHEA. Pregnenolone sulphate is in the same family of steroids but it is not sold as a health supplement.

“The effect that we have seen is really quite exciting and also unexpected,” said Professor David Beech, who led the study. “However, we are absolutely not endorsing any claims made by manufacturers of any health supplements. Evidence from human trials is needed first.”

A chemical profiling study indicated that the protective effect was not as strong when cholesterol was present too. This suggests that the expected benefits of ‘fountain of youth’ steroids will be much greater if they are used in combination with cholesterol-lowering drugs and/or other healthy lifestyle strategies such as diet and exercise.

“These ‘fountain of youth’ steroids are relatively cheap to make and some of them are already available as commercial products. So if we can show that this effect works in people as well as in lab-based studies, then it could be a cost-effective approach to addressing cardiovascular health problems that are becoming epidemic in our society and world-wide,” Professor Beech added.

The paper is published in Circulation Research.

Public release date: 17-May-2010

New evidence caffeine may slow Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, restore cognitive function

Researchers explore potential benefits of caffeine in special supplement to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 17, 2010 – Although caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug worldwide, its potential beneficial effect for maintenance of proper brain functioning has only recently begun to be adequately appreciated. Substantial evidence from epidemiological studies and fundamental research in animal models suggests that caffeine may be protective against the cognitive decline seen in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A special supplement to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, “Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases,” sheds new light on this topic and presents key findings.

Guest editors Alexandre de Mendonça, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal, and Rodrigo A. Cunha, Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of Coimbra and Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal, have assembled a group of international experts to explore the effects of caffeine on the brain. The resulting collection of original studies conveys multiple perspectives on topics ranging from molecular targets of caffeine, neurophysiological modifications and adaptations, to the potential mechanisms underlying the behavioral and neuroprotective actions of caffeine in distinct brain pathologies.

“Epidemiological studies first revealed an inverse association between the chronic consumption of caffeine and the incidence of Parkinson’s disease,” according to Mendonça and Cunha. “This was paralleled by animal studies of Parkinson’s disease showing that caffeine prevented motor deficits as well as neurodegeneration “Later a few epidemiological studies showed that the consumption of moderate amounts of caffeine was inversely associated with the cognitive decline associated with aging as well as the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Again, this was paralleled by animal studies showing that chronic caffeine administration prevented memory deterioration and neurodegeneration in animal models of aging and of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Key findings presented in “Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases”:

•Multiple beneficial effects of caffeine to normalize brain function and prevent its degeneration

•Caffeine’s neuroprotective profile and its ability to reduce amyloid-beta production

•Caffeine as a candidate disease-modifying agent for Alzheimer’s disease

•Positive impact of caffeine on cognition and memory performance

•Identification of adenosine A2A receptors as the main target for neuroprotection afforded by caffeine consumption

•Confirmation of data through valuable meta-analyses presented

•Epidemiological studies corroborated by meta-analysis suggesting that caffeine may be protective against Parkinson’s disease

•Several methodological issues must be solved before advancing to decisive clinical trials

Mendonça and Cunha also observe that “the daily follow-up of patients with AD has taught us that improvement of daily living may be a more significant indicator of amelioration than slight improvements in objective measures of memory performance. One of the most prevalent complications of AD is depression of mood, and the recent observations that caffeine might be a mood normalizer are of particular interest.”

Public release date: 17-May-2010

 

High-fat ketogenic diet effectively treats persistent childhood seizures

The high-fat ketogenic diet can dramatically reduce or completely eliminate debilitating seizures in most children with infantile spasms, whose seizures persist despite medication, according to a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study published online April 30 in the journal Epilepsia.

Infantile spasms, also called West syndrome, is a stubborn form of epilepsy that often does not get better with antiseizure drugs. Because poorly controlled infantile spasms may cause brain damage, the Hopkins team’s findings suggest the diet should be started at the earliest sign that medications aren’t working.

“Stopping or reducing the number of seizures can go a long way toward preserving neurological function, and the ketogenic diet should be our immediate next line of defense in children with persistent infantile spasms who don’t improve with medication,” says senior investigator Eric Kossoff, M.D., a pediatric neurologist and director of the ketogenic diet program at Hopkins Children’s.

The ketogenic diet, made up of high-fat foods and few carbohydrates, works by triggering biochemical changes that eliminate seizure-causing short circuits in the brain’s signaling system. It has been used successfully in several forms of epilepsy.

A small 2002 study by the same Hopkins team showed the diet worked well in a handful of children with infantile spasms. The new study is the largest analysis thus far showing just how effective the diet can be in children with this condition.

Of the 104 children treated by the Hopkins team, nearly 40 percent, or 38 children, became seizure-free for at least six months after being on the diet for anywhere from just a few days to 20 months. Of the 38, 30 have remained so without a relapse for at least two years.

After three months on the diet, one-third of the children had 90 percent fewer seizures, and after nine months on the diet, nearly half of the children in the study had 90 percent fewer seizures. Nearly two-thirds had half as many seizures after six months on the diet.

Nearly two-thirds of the children experienced improvement in their neurological and cognitive development, and nearly 30 percent were weaned off antiseizure medications after starting the diet.

Most of the children continued taking their medication even after starting the diet, the researchers say, because the two are not mutually exclusive and can often work in synergy.

Researchers also used the diet as first-line therapy in18 newly diagnosed infants never treated with drugs, 10 of whom became seizure free within two weeks of starting the diet. The finding suggests that, at least in some children, the diet may work well as first-line therapy, but the researchers say they need further and larger studies to help them identify patients for whom the diet is best used before medications. Hopkins Children’s neurologists are actively using the ketogenic diet as first-line treatment in children with infantile spasms with promising results.

Side effects, including constipation, heartburn, diarrhea and temporary spikes in cholesterol levels, occurred in one-third of the children, with six percent of them experiencing diminished growth.

Despite these side effects, a recent study by Kossoff and his team showed that the ketogenic diet is safe long term.

Conflict of interest disclosure: Dr. Kossoff has received grant support from Nutricia Inc., for unrelated research. The terms of these arrangements are being managed by the Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies.

Public release date: 19-May-2010

Study: Yogurt-like drink DanActive reduced rate of common infections in daycare children

Washington, DC – The probiotic yogurt-like drink DanActive reduced the rate of common sicknesses such as ear infections, sinusitis, the flu and diarrhea in daycare children, say researchers who studied the drink in the largest known probiotic clinical trial to be conducted in the United States. An additional finding, however, showed no reduction in the number school days missed. The study led by Daniel Merenstein of Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM), was funded by The Dannon Company, Inc., and published today online in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Probiotic foods are continuing to increase in popularity and some are marketed for the potential benefits of probiotics such as Lactobacillus casei (L. casei) DN-114 001, the probiotic in DanActive. Studies in other countries have found that probiotics, which are live micro-organisms, produce positive health benefits in children, including the reduction of school days missed due to infections. However, most of the research was conducted outside the United States in structured conditions not comparable to normal everyday living.

“We were interested in a study that resembled how children in the U.S. consume drinks that are stored in home refrigerators and consumed without study personnel observation,” says the study’s lead author Daniel Merenstein, MD, director of research in the Department of Family Medicine at GUSOM.

“…To our knowledge this is the largest probiotic clinical trial conducted in the U.S. and provides much needed data,” say the authors of the study. “We studied a functional food, not a medicinal product; parents will thus feed their children without any physician input and we felt it was best to assess [the drink] under similar conditions.”

The study, titled DRINK (Decreasing the Rates of Illness in Kids), was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study – the gold standard in clinical research design. It included 638 healthy children, aged three to six, who attended school five days a week. Parents were asked to give their child a daily strawberry yogurt-like drink. Some of the drinks were supplemented with the probiotic strain L. casei DN-114 001 (DanActive), while others had no probiotics (placebo). Neither the study coordinators, the children, nor the parents knew which drink was given to which participant until the study ended. In addition to phone interviews with researchers, parents kept daily diaries of their child’s health and the number of drinks consumed.

Researchers found a 19 percent decrease of common infections among the children who drank the yogurt-like drink with L. casei DN-114 001 compared to those whose drink did not have the probiotic. More specifically, those who drank DanActive had 24 percent fewer gastrointestinal infections (such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting), and 18 percent fewer upper respiratory tract infections (such as ear infections, sinusitis and strep). However, the reduction in infections did not result in fewer missed school days or activities – also a primary outcome of the study.

“Our study had mixed results,” says Merenstein. “Children in school or daycare are especially susceptible to these illnesses. We did find some differences in infection rates but this did not translate to fewer missed school days or change in daily activity. It is my hope that safe and tolerable ways to reduce illnesses could eventually result in fewer missed school days which means fewer work days missed by parents.”

“It is important that more of these products are put under the microscope by independent academic researchers,” he concludes.

Public release date: 20-May-2010

Estrogen-lowering drugs minimize surgery in breast cancer patients

A nationwide study has confirmed the benefit of giving estrogen-lowering drugs before surgery to breast cancer patients. The treatment increased the likelihood that women could undergo breast-conservation surgery, also called lumpectomy, instead of mastectomy.

The study’s chair, Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair in Medical Oncology and a breast cancer specialist with the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, will present the findings June 7 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, the study took place at 118 hospitals across the country and involved 352 postmenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast tumors. The participants received aromatase inhibitors for 16 weeks before surgery for breast cancer, and the extent of their tumors was monitored before and after the drug treatment.

The lead investigator at the Washington University site was Julie A. Margenthaler, MD, assistant professor of surgery and a breast surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center.

Aromatase inhibitors are also referred to as estrogen-lowering agents because they interfere with the body’s production of estrogen, a hormone that stimulates the growth of ER+ breast tumors. ER+ is the most common breast cancer, accounting for three-quarters of cases.

All women in the study had stage II or III breast cancer, in which tumors are about an inch or larger in size and may have spread to the lymph nodes in the underarm area. Participants were placed in one of three groups at the study’s start:

•marginal, meaning breast-conservation surgery was possible but likely to be disfiguring or to require several surgical procedures;

•mastectomy-only, meaning breast-conservation surgery was not possible; and

•inoperable, meaning mastectomy would not completely remove the cancer.

After the 16-week aromatase inhibitor therapy, the women were reevaluated to see which surgical option was appropriate for them. The results showed that 82 percent of women in the marginal group, 51 percent in the mastectomy-only group and 75 percent in the inoperable group had successful breast-conservation surgery instead of mastectomy.

“Aromatase inhibitor therapy shrank the tumors in many of these women and improved surgical outcomes,” Ellis says. “These results will encourage a change in practice across the country so that more women can benefit from the currently underutilized approach of administering estrogen-lowering agents before surgery.”

The study participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three estrogen-lowering agents: exemestane (25 mg daily), letrozole (2.5 mg daily) or anastrozole (1 mg daily). No statistically significant difference in effectiveness was found among the three drugs.

Ellis explains that there are other benefits to using estrogen-lowering agents before surgery.

“ER+ breast cancer can be thought of as a chronic disease because patients generally take estrogen-lowering agents for many years after surgery to repress recurrence,” Ellis says. “In other chronic diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes, a patient’s response to treatment is continually monitored. But we’ve never done that with breast cancer. By treating breast cancer patients with estrogen-lowering drugs for three or four months before surgery, we can monitor treatment response and then specifically tailor surgical and post-surgical treatment based on this response.”

 

Public release date: 21-May-2010

Prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to breast cancer

A study in mice reveals that prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, like bisphenol-A (BPA) and diethylstilbestrol (DES), may program a fetus for life. Therefore, adult women who were exposed prenatally to BPA or DES could be at increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study accepted for publication in Hormones & Cancer, a journal of The Endocrine Society.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are substances in the environment that interfere with hormone biosynthesis, metabolism or action resulting in adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. These chemicals are designed, produced and marketed largely for specific industrial purposes.

“BPA is a weak estrogen and DES is a strong estrogen, yet our study shows both have a profound effect on gene expression in the mammary gland (breast) throughout life,” said Hugh Taylor, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. and lead author of the study. “All estrogens, even ‘weak’ ones can alter the development of the breast and ultimately place adult women who were exposed to them prenatally at risk of breast cancer.”

In this study, researchers treated pregnant mice with BPA or DES and then looked at the offspring as adults. When the offspring reached adulthood, their mammary glands still produced higher levels of EZH2, a protein that plays a role in the regulation of all genes. Higher EZH2 levels are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in humans.

“We have demonstrated a novel mechanism by which endocrine-disrupting chemicals regulate developmental programming in the breast,” said Taylor. “This study generates important safety concerns about exposures to environmental endocrine disruptors such as BPA and suggests a potential need to monitor women exposed to these chemicals for the development of breast lesions as adults.”

Ralph’s Note – How many more warnings do we need ? If this stuff is not banned now. We may be responsible for the deaths of many generations to come.

 

Public release date: 24-May-2010

Anti-aging supplements may be best taken not too late in life

Anti-aging supplements made up of mixtures might be better than single compounds at preventing decline in physical function, according to researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging. In addition, it appears that such so-called neutraceuticals should be taken before very old age for benefits such as improvement in physical function.

The findings from rat studies, published last week in the journal PLoS One, have implications for how dietary supplementation can be used effectively in humans.

“I think it is important for people to focus on good nutrition, but for those of advanced age who are running out of energy and not moving much, we’re trying to find a supplement mixture that can help improve their quality of life,” said Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and chief of the biology of aging division in the UF College of Medicine.

Scientists do not fully understand all the processes that lead to loss of function as people age. But more and more research points to the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging, that as people age, oxidative damage piles up in individual cells such that the energy-generation system inside some cells stops working properly.

To address that problem, many anti-aging studies and supplements are geared toward reducing the effects of free radicals.

The UF researchers investigated the potential anti-aging benefits of a commercially available mixture marketed for relieving chronic fatigue and protecting against muscle aging. The supplement contains the antioxidant coenzyme Q10, creatine — a compound that aids muscle performance — and ginseng, which also has been shown to have antioxidant properties.

The study gauged the effects of the mixture on physical performance as well as on two mechanisms that underlie the aging process and many age-related disorders: dysfunction of the cells’ energy producing powerhouses, known as mitochondria, and oxidative stress.

The researchers fed the supplement to middle-aged 21-month-old and late-middle-aged 29-month-old rats — corresponding to 50- to 65-year-old and 65- to 80-year-old humans, respectively — for six weeks, and measured how strongly their paws could grip. Grip strength in rats is analogous to physical performance in humans, and deterioration in grip strength can provide useful information about muscle weakness or loss seen in older adults.

Grip strength improved 12 percent in the middle-aged rats compared with controls, but no improvement was found in the older group.

Measurements of the function of mitochondria corresponded with the grip strength findings. Stress tests showed that mitochondrial function improved 66 percent compared with controls in middle-aged rats but not in the older ones. That suggests that supplementation might be of greater effect before major age-related functional and other declines have set in, the researchers said.

“It is possible that there is a window during which these compounds will work, and if the intervention is given after that time it won’t work,” said Jinze Xu, Ph.D., first author of the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at UF.

The researchers are working to identify the optimal age at which various interventions can enhance behavioral or physical performance. Very few studies have been done to show the effect of interventions on the very old.

Interestingly, although the older rats had no improvement in physical performance or mitochondrial function, they had lowered levels of oxidative damage.

That shows that reduction of oxidative stress damage is not always matched by functional changes such as improvement in muscle strength.

As a result, research must focus on compounds that promote proper functioning of the mitochondria, since mitochondrial health is essential in older animals for reducing oxidative stress, the researchers said. And clinical trials need to be performed to test the effectiveness of the supplements in humans.

“It’s going to be very important to focus less on oxidative stress and biomarkers, and focus on having sufficient energy,” Leeuwenburgh said. “If energy declines, then you have an increased chance for oxidative stress or failure of repair mechanisms that recognize oxidative damage — we’re seeing that the health of mitochondria is central to aging.”

It is possible that although the supplement could help reduce the oxidative stress damage, because damage in much older animals was too great, energy could not be restored.

The different compounds in the mixture acted to produce effects that single compounds did not, because each component affected a different biochemical pathway in the body, addressing both oxidative stress and mitochondrial function, researchers said.

“People are catching on that using a single compound is not a good strategy — you have to use multiple compounds and target one or multiple pathways,” Leeuwenburgh said.

Public release date: 24-May-2010

Folate prevents alcohol-induced congenital heart defects in mice

University of South Florida study suggests high dose needed very early in pregnancy to protect developing heart

Tampa, FL (May 24, 2010) — A new animal study has found that high levels of the B-vitamin folate (folic acid) prevented heart birth defects induced by alcohol exposure in early pregnancy, a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome.

Researchers at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and All Children’s Hospital report that the protection was afforded only when folate was administered very early in pregnancy and before the alcohol exposure. The dose that best protected against heart defects in mice was considerably higher than the current dietary recommendation of 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily for women of child-bearing age.

The findings were published online earlier this month in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

While more research is needed, the study has implications for re-evaluating folate supplementation levels during early pregnancy, said principal investigator Kersti Linask, PhD, the Mason Professor of Cardiovascular Development at USF and Children’s Research Institute/All Children’s Hospital.

“Congenital heart defects can occur in the developing embryo at a time when women typically do not even know they are pregnant – 16 to 18 days following conception. They may have been drinking alcohol or using prescription drugs without realizing this could be affecting embryonic development,” Dr. Linask said.

“We found that we could prevent alcohol-associated defects from arising in the mice — provided folate was given in relatively high concentrations very early in pregnancy around conception.”

In the USF study, two randomly assigned groups of pregnant mice were fed diets supplemented by folate in adjusted doses known from epidemiological studies to rescue human embryos from craniofacial birth defects. From the day after conception, one group received a high dose of folate supplementation (10.5 milligrams/kilogram) and the second received a moderate dose (6.2 mg/kg). A third control group ate a normal folate-supplemented diet (3.3 mg/kg) determined to maintain the general health of the pregnant mice, but not to rescue embryos from birth defects.

During the first week of pregnancy, the mice in all three groups were then administered injections of alcohol simulating a single binge drinking event in humans.

Following this alcohol exposure, Doppler ultrasound confirmed that 87 percent of the embryos of pregnant mice in the third group – those not receiving folate supplementation beyond what was present in their normal diets – had developed heart valve defects. The affected embryos were also smaller in size and their heart muscle walls appeared thinner.

Between days 15 and 16 of pregnancy in the mice – equal to 56 days of gestation in humans — ultrasound also showed that the high-folate diet protected heart valve development against lasting defects and restored heart function and embryonic size to near-normal levels. The moderate-folate diet provided only partial protection; in this group 58 percent of the mouse embryos developed heart valves that functioned abnormally, with a back flow of blood.

The researchers suggest that folate fortification may be most effective at preventing heart birth defects when administered at significantly higher levels than the doses currently recommended to prevent pregnancy complications — both in normal women (0.4 milligrams recommended daily) and even in women who have delivered an infant with a spinal birth defect (4 milligrams daily). Although higher folate levels did not cause adverse side effects in the pregnant mice, Dr. Linask notes, the safety and effectiveness of higher doses must be proven with human trials.

The heart is the first organ to form and function during embryonic development of vertebrates. The USF researchers suggest that folate supplementation thwarts alcohol’s damaging effect on an important early signaling pathway that plays a vital role in early heart development and subsequently in valve formation.

 

Public release date: 24-May-2010

LSUHSC researcher finds surprising link between sugar in drinks and blood pressure

New Orleans, LA – Research led by Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Health at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has found that there is an association between sugary drinks and blood pressure and that by cutting daily consumption of sugary drinks by just one serving a day, people can lower their blood pressure. The research is published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“We found no association for diet beverage consumption or caffeine intake and blood pressure,” notes Dr. Chen, “suggesting that sugar may actually be the nutrient that is associated with blood pressure and not caffeine which many people would suspect.”

The research, which was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, analyzed dietary intake and blood pressure of 810 adults measured at baseline, 6 and 18 months. After known risk factors of high blood pressure were controlled for, a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption of one serving per day was associated with a drop of 1.8 mm Hg in systolic pressure and 1.1 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure over 18 months.

After additional adjustment for weight change over the same period, a reduction in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was still significantly associated with blood pressure reduction.

“By reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, you are also reducing the number of calories you consume and may lose weight,” adds Dr. Chen. “But even among those whose weight was stable, we still found that people who drank fewer sugary sodas lowered their blood pressure.”

Elevated blood pressure continues to be one of the most common and important problems in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, about 74.5 million people in the United States, or one in three people, age 20 and older have high blood pressure. It is estimated that high blood pressure killed 56,561Americans in 2006. From 1996 to 2006, the death rate from high blood pressure increased 19.5 percent, and the actual number of deaths rose 48.1 percent.

Normal blood pressure, measured in millimeters of mercury, is defined as systolic (top number) less than 120 and diastolic (bottom number) less than 80. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a systolic pressure of 140 or higher and a diastolic pressure of 90 or higher. Pressures falling in the range between are considered to be prehypertension.

High blood pressure, which usually has few symptoms, if any, is an established risk factor for stroke, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and shortened life expectancy.

“More research is needed to establish the causal relationship, but in the meantime, people can benefit right now by reducing their intake of sugary drinks by at least one serving per day,” concludes Dr. Chen.

Public release date: 25-May-2010

Dangerous lung worms found in people who eat raw crayfish

If you’re headed to a freshwater stream this summer and a friend dares you to eat a raw crayfish – don’t do it. You could end up in the hospital with a severe parasitic infection.

Physicians at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have diagnosed a rare parasitic infection in six people who had consumed raw crayfish from streams and rivers in Missouri. The cases occurred over the past three years, but three have been diagnosed since last September; the latest in April. Before these six, only seven such cases had ever been reported in North America, where the parasite, Paragonimus kellicotti, is common in crayfish.

“The infection, called paragonimiasis, is very rare, so it’s extremely unusual to see this many cases in one medical center in a relatively short period of time,” says Washington University infectious diseases specialist Gary Weil, MD, professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology, who treated some of the patients. “We are almost certain there are other people out there with the infection who haven’t been diagnosed. That’s why we want to get the word out.”

Paragonimiasis causes fever, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue. The infection is generally not fatal, and it is easily treated if properly diagnosed. But the illness is so unusual that most doctors are not aware of it. Most of the patients had received multiple treatments for pneumonia and undergone invasive procedures before they were referred to Barnes-Jewish Hospital or St. Louis Children’s Hospital at Washington University Medical Center.

The half-inch, oval-shaped parasitic worms at the root of the infection primarily travel from the intestine to the lungs. They also can migrate to the brain, causing severe headaches or vision problems, or under the skin, appearing as small, moving nodules.

Some of the patients had been in and out of the hospital for months as physicians tried to diagnose their mysterious illness and treat their symptoms, which also included a buildup of fluid around the lungs and around the heart. One patient even had his gallbladder removed, to no avail.

“Some of these invasive procedures could have been avoided if the patients had received a prompt diagnosis,” says Michael Lane, MD, an infectious diseases fellow at the School of Medicine who treated some of the patients. “We hope more doctors will now have this infection on their radar screens for patients with an unexplained lingering fever, cough and fatigue.”

Once the diagnosis is made, paragonimiasis is easily treated with an oral drug, praziquantel, taken three times a day for only two days. Symptoms begin to improve within a few days and are typically gone within seven to 10 days. All the patients have completely recovered, even one patient who temporarily lost his vision when parasites invaded the brain.

The recent infections, which occurred in patients ages 10-32, have prompted the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services to issue a health advisory alerting doctors across the state. The department also printed posters warning people not to eat raw crayfish and placed them in campgrounds and canoe rental businesses near popular Missouri streams. Thoroughly cooking crayfish kills the parasite and does not pose a health risk.

Paragonimiasis is far more common in East Asia, where many thousands of cases are diagnosed annually in people who consume raw or undercooked crab that contain Paragonimus westermani, a cousin to the parasite in North American crayfish.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an antibody test to identify Paragonimus westermani infection, the test is not sensitive for patients with P. kellicotti parasite, and this makes diagnosis a real challenge. Diagnostic clues include elevated levels of white blood cells called eosinophils. These cells typically are elevated in patients with worm parasites, but they can also occur in more common illnesses, including cancer, autoimmune disease and allergy. X-rays also show excess fluid around the lungs and sometimes the heart.

“You have to be a bit of a detective and be open to all the clues,” says Washington University infectious diseases specialist Thomas Bailey, MD, professor of medicine, who diagnosed and treated the first case at the School of Medicine.

As a case in point, the first patient who sought treatment at Washington University had had a fever and cough for several weeks. His chest X-ray showed fluid around the lungs, and blood tests showed elevated levels of eosinophils.

The “aha moment” for Bailey occurred when the patient’s wife mentioned that his symptoms developed about a week after he ate raw crayfish from a Missouri river, and Bailey recalled that in Asia eating raw or undercooked crabs can lead to a paragonimus infection. With a quick search of the medical literature, Bailey learned that rare cases of North American paragonimiasis had been described in patients eating raw crayfish. The scenario fit perfectly with his patient.

“That’s the interesting thing about being an infectious diseases doctor,” Bailey says. “Every time you see a new patient you have to be open to the possibility that the diagnosis could be something highly unusual.”

Crayfish are common throughout North America, where hundreds of species live in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. The parasite P. kellicotti has a complex life cycle. It lives in snails and crayfish but only causes a dangerous infection if it ingested by mammals, including dogs, cats and humans, who eat it raw.

No one knows why more cases of paragonimiasis are being diagnosed now, but doctors and researchers at Washington University are studying the parasite and hope to develop a better diagnostic test for the infection. For now, the message for physicians is to consider paragonimiasis in patients with cough, fever and eosinophilia. The simple message for the public is: “Do not eat raw crayfish,” Weil says.

 

Public release date: 26-May-2010

Some bisphosphonates users unfamiliar with drug’s possible side effects on oral health

CHICAGO, May 26, 2010 – People undergoing bisphosphonate therapy to prevent or treat osteoporosis (a thinning of the bones) may be unfamiliar with the drug and possible adverse side effects on oral health, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

Use of bisphosphonates has been associated with a small risk of developing bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (BON) that occurs spontaneously or after the patient has undergone dental surgery. BON is a rare but serious condition that can cause severe damage to the jaw bone. The prevalence of BON is between three and 12 percent for patients who receive bisphosphonates intravenously for cancer therapy and less than one percent for patients who receive bisphosphonates orally for osteoporosis or osteopenia.

In the study, the authors sought to determine whether patients taking bisphosphonates had knowledge about the medical indication for the therapy and how long the treatment would last. They also wanted to know whether participants’ physicians told them about possible adverse reactions.

The researchers interviewed 73 participants (71 women, two men) seeking routine care in a dental clinic. These participants, with an average age of 66 years that ranged from 44 to 88 years, also were undergoing bisphosphonate treatment. Eighty-four percent of the participants stated they knew why they were receiving bisphosphonate therapy. However, 80 percent said they were unsure about the duration of the therapy and 82 percent could not recall receiving information about the risk of experiencing adverse reactions, including oral osteonecrosis, by their physicians.

“The results of our small study show that patients who take bisphosphonates may not be aware that BON can develop after they undergo invasive dental care,” the authors wrote. “We believe that a more effective communication process between prescribing physicians, dentists and patients using bisphosphonates is needed.”

The American Dental Association Advisory Committee on Medication-induced Osteonecrosis of the Jaw recommends that dental patients on bisphosphonate therapy advise their dentist. The Committee believes that it is always appropriate for physicians to encourage patients to visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams, as recommended by their dentist. This is especially important for patients whose oral health is put at risk from medications or medical problems.

Public release date: 26-May-2010

 

You have no natural right to food

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), an organization whose mission includes “defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods”, recently filed a lawsuit against the FDA for its ban on interstate sales of raw milk. The suit alleges that such a restriction is a direct violation of the United States Constitution. Nevertheless, the suit led to a surprisingly cold response from the FDA about its views on food freedom (and freedoms in general).

In a dismissal notice issued to the Iowa District Court where the suit was filed, the FDA officially made public its views on health and food freedom. These views will shock you, but they reveal the true evil intent of the FDA and why it is truly a rogue federal agency.

The FDA essentially believes that nobody has the right to choose what to eat or drink. You are only “allowed” to eat or drink what the FDA gives you permission to. There is no inherent right or God-given right to consume any foods from nature without the FDA’s consent.

This is no exaggeration. It’s exactly what the FDA said in its own words.

You have no natural right to food

The FTCLDF highlighted a few of the key phrases from the FDA’s response document in a recent email to its supporters. They include the following two statements from the FDA:

“There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.” [p. 26]

 

“Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.” [p.26]

There’s a lot more in the document, which primarily addresses the raw milk issue, but these statements alone clearly reveal how the FDA views the concept of health freedom. Essentially, the FDA does not believe in health freedom at all. It believes that it is the only entity granted the authority to decide for you what you are able to eat and drink.

The State, in other words, may override your food decisions and deny you free access to the foods and beverages you wish to consume. And the State may do this for completely unscientific reasons — even just political reasons — all at their whim.

 

Ralph’s note – Who would of ever guessed that we would lose our freedom to eat? It’s not lost yet, but obviously some would let to see that happen.

________________________________

 

These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other

Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the

ability to empower themselves. Without the base aspirations for fame, or fortune.

Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

40th Health Research Report 30 SEP 2008 – Reconstruction

 

 

Editors Top Five:

 

 

1. Higher urinary levels of commonly used chemical, BPA, linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes
 
2. Top-selling prescription drug mismarketed to women
 
3. ‘Estrogen flooding our rivers,’ Université de Montréal study
 
4. Honey effective in killing bacteria that cause chronic sinusitis
 
5. Can Taurine be a potent antioxidant drug in the future?

 

 

In this Issue:

 
 
 
1. Higher urinary levels of commonly used chemical, BPA, linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes
 
2. Research supports correlation between finger lengths and stress hormones
 
3. Colds and flu cut by one-third in study of Canada’s top cold fighter in vaccinated seniors
 
4. Older people who diet without exercising lose valuable muscle mass
 
5. Does probiotic intervention induce the serum global lipid profile change?
 
6. Top-selling prescription drug mismarketed to women
 
7. ‘Estrogen flooding our rivers,’ Université de Montréal study
 
8. Can Taurine be a potent antioxidant drug in the future?
 
9. Statins increase risk of postoperative delirium in elderly patients
 
10. Half of trials supporting FDA applications go unpublished
 
11. Indian spice reduces size of hemorrhagic stroke
 
12. Honey effective in killing bacteria that cause chronic sinusitis
 
13. Dark chocolate: Half a bar per week to keep at bay the risk of heart attack
 
14. Popular COPD treatment increases risk for cardiac events, cardiac death
 
15. Plant antioxidant may protect against radiation exposure
 
16. Isoflavone dietary supplement improves the functioning of the arteries in stroke patients
 
17. Probiotic bacteria can induce monocyte-derived dendritic cells maturation?
 
18. Fishy diet in early infancy cuts eczema risk
 
19. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
 
20. How does ellagic acid exert anti-cancer effect on pancreatic cancer cells?
 
21. Animals farmed for meat are the No. 1 source of food poisoning bug, study shows
 
22. Cholesterol-lowering drugs and the effect on muscle repair and regeneration
 
23. Majority of children vaccinated against hepatitis B not at increased risk of MS
 
24. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
 
25. Blood thinning drug linked to increased bleeding in brain
 
26. New study proves that pain is not a symptom of arthritis, pain causes arthritis
 
 

Health Technology Research Synopsis

40th Issue Date 30 SEP 2008

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm http://www.facebook.com/engineeringevil

www.engineeringevil.com

 

Common bronchodilator linked to increased deaths

2008 Post for filing

Contact: Marla Paul Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu 312-503-8928 Northwestern University

CHICAGO — A common bronchodilator drug which has been used for more than a decade by patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been linked to a one-third higher risk of cardiovascular-related deaths.

The drug, ipratropium, is sold under the brand names Atrovent and Combivent, the latter a combination product that contains ipratropium.

A new study from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that veterans with recently diagnosed COPD using ipratropium were 34 percent more likely to die of a heart attack or of arrhythmia than COPD patients using only albuterol (another bronchodilator) or patients not using any treatment.

The study is published in the Sept. 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“This medication may be having some systemic cardiovascular effect that is increasing the risk of death in COPD patients,” said Todd Lee, lead author and research assistant professor in the Institute for HealthCare Studies at the Feinberg School.

COPD is an umbrella term for respiratory diseases that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The primary cause is smoking. An estimated 12 million people in the U.S.  have COPD. The disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is expected to grow to the third leading cause by 2020 due largely to an aging population with a higher historical rate of smoking.

Todd noted his study is observational and indicates the need for researchers to take a closer look at this medication, which has been considered safe for many years. The study looked at the cause of death of 145,000 veterans with newly diagnosed COPD from 1999 to 2003.

“The safety of drugs for COPD patients has flown under the radar,” Lee said. “We decided to look into the safety of respiratory medications for COPD patients because of some concerns that had been raised in asthma drugs. We were curious as to whether there were safety problems with these medications in patients with COPD.”

Todd said patients and providers should be aware of the potential risk. “When they make treatment decisions they need to weigh these potential risks against other medications that are available for COPD,” he noted

Sulforaphane, which occurs naturally in broccoli restores certain functions in COPD

2008 Post for filing

Contact: Keely Savoie ksavoie@thoracic.org 212-315-8620 American Thoracic Society

COPD?  Eat your veggies

You know it’s good for you in other ways, but could eating your broccoli also help patients with chronic lung disease? It just might.

According to recent research from Johns Hopkins Medical School, a decrease in lung concentrations of NRF2-dependent antioxidants, key components of the lung’s defense system against inflammatory injury, is linked to the severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in smokers. Broccoli is known to contain a compound that prevents the degradation of.

The findings were published in the second issue for September of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects more than 16 million Americans.

In this study, researchers examined tissue samples from the lungs of smokers with and without COPD to determine if there were differences in measured levels of NRF2 expression and the level of its biochemical regulators, including KEAP1, which inhibits NRF2, and DJ-1, which stabilizes it. Dr. Biswal had previously shown that disruption in NRF2 expression in mice exposed to cigarette smoke caused early onset of severe emphysema.

When compared to non-COPD lungs, the lungs of patients with COPD showed markedly decreased levels of NRF2-dependent antioxidants, increased oxidative stress markers, a significant decrease in NRF2 protein with no change in NRF2 mRNA levels (indicating that it was expressed, but subsequently degraded), and similar KEAP1 levels, but a marked decrease in the level of DJ-1.

“NRF2-dependent antioxidants and DJ-1 expression was negatively associated with severity of COPD,” wrote principle investigator, Shyam Biswal, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Therapy directed toward enhancing NRF2-regulated antioxidants may be a novel strategy for attenuating the effects of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of COPD.”

While clinical trials to date of antioxidants have been disappointing in improving the clinical course of patients with COPD, this study points to a possibility of benefit from restoring NRF2 levels in damaged lungs by reducing the action of KEAP1, which is an inhibitor of NRF2. “[I]ncreasing NRF2 may also restore important detoxifying enzymes to counteract other effects of tobacco smoke,” wrote Peter Barnes, D.M., of the National Heart and Lung Institute in London, in the accompanying editorial. “This has been achieved in vitro and in vivo by isothiocynate compounds, such as sulforaphane, which occurs naturally in broccoli and [wasabi].”

Sulforapane has been shown to be able to restore antioxidant gene expression in human epithelial tissue in which DJ-1 has been reduced. Isothicyanate compounds such as that found in broccoli inhibit KEAP1, and thus prevent it from degrading NRF2, according to Dr. Barnes.

“Future studies should target NRF2 as a novel strategy to increase antioxidant protection in the lungs and test its ability to decrease exacerbations and improve lung function in patients with COPD,” concluded Dr. Biswal.

John Heffner, MD, past president of the ATS, commented that “mounting evidence over several decades underscores the importance of oxidant-mediated damage for the development of COPD in addition to other lung diseases. This study adds greater precision to our understanding of the specific antioxidants that may protect the lung against emphysema to allow clinical trials based on valid pathophysiologic principles.”

Excess pneumonia deaths linked to engine exhaust

Repost File 2008

Contact: Rachael Davies
rdavies@bma.org.uk
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal

Atmospheric pollutants and mortalities in English local authority areas

Engine exhaust fumes are linked to excess deaths from pneumonia across England, suggests research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The annual death toll is comparable to that caused by the London smog in 1952, suggests the author.

Data on atmospheric emissions, published causes of death, and expected causes of death for 352 local authority jurisdictions in England were combined to calculate the impact of pollution on death rates between 1996 and 2004.

Levels of air pollution varied substantially among the local authorities.

Calculations revealed that pneumonia, peptic ulcer, coronary and rheumatic heart diseases, lung and stomach cancers, and other diseases, were all associated with a range of emissions, as well as deprivation, smoking, binge drinking and a northern location.

Further analysis, allowing for the effects of the social factors, showed that pneumonia deaths were strongly and independently linked to emissions, with the exception of sulphur dioxide from coal burning.

The primary culprits were emissions associated with oil combustion, including vehicle exhaust fumes.

During the eight years of the study there were almost 390.000 deaths from pneumonia.

And 35 local authorities accounted for almost 54,000 of these deaths, or around15,,000 more than would be expected.

“Total annual losses as a result of air pollution probably approach those of the 1952 London smog,” writes the author.

Because the links were so strong across all categories of exposure and deaths were so much higher than would be expected, this suggests that these pollutants directly damage lung tissue, he says.

Excess deaths from the progressive lung disease COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and rheumatic heart disease, both of which are characterised by failing lung function, could also be precipitated by engine exhaust, he adds.

BUSM researchers find potential key to halt progression, reverse damage from emphysema: From an Ingredient in Skin Creams

Contact: Jenny Eriksen jenny.eriksen@bmc.org 617-638-6841 Boston University Medical Center

(Boston) – A study led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has shown that a compound used in some skin creams may halt the progression of emphysema and reverse some of the damage caused by the disease. When the compound Gly-His-Lys (GHK) was applied to lung cells from patients with emphysema, normal gene activity in altered cells was restored and damaged aspects of cellular function were repaired.

The study, which is published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Genome Medicine, also demonstrates the potential impact of using genomic technologies to identify new possible treatments for diseases using existing drugs and compounds.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic, progressive lung disease that comprises emphysema, small airway obstruction and/or chronic bronchitis leading to the loss of lung function. Tobacco smoke and other irritants cause oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which over time destroys lung alveolar cells and results in emphysema. Without these cells, the lungs are not able to efficiently exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, causing shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels. According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States and results in approximately 120,000 deaths each year. While there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help people cope with COPD, there currently is no cure and there are no effective therapies to reduce the rate of lung function decline that occurs as the disease progresses.

“Given the high costs, both direct and indirect, associated with COPD, there is an urgent need to identify novel approaches to treat the disease,” said Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, Alexander Graham Bell professor of medicine and chief of the division of computational biomedicine at BUSM, who was one of the study’s senior leaders. Spira also is a physician in the pulmonary, critical care and allergy department at Boston Medical Center.

Researchers took cells from lungs donated by patients undergoing a double lung transplant because their lungs were irrevocably damaged by COPD and found 127 genes had changes in activity as disease severity increased within the lung. The genes that showed increased activity included several that are associated with inflammation, such as those involved in signalling to B-cells (the immune system cells that make antibodies).

In contrast, the genes involved in maintaining cellular structure and normal cellular function, along with the growth factors TGFβ and VEGF, were down-regulated and showed decreased activity. Genes that control the ability of the cells to stick together (cell adhesion), produce the protein matrix that normally surrounds the cells and promote the normal association between lung cells and blood vessels were among the genes in this category.

Using genomic technologies and computational methods, the researchers identified genetic activity defects that occur as emphysema progresses and matched these defects with compounds that could reverse the damage. “Our study results showed that the way genes were affected by the compound GHK, a drug identified in the 1970s, was the complete opposite of the pattern we had seen in the cells damaged by emphysema,” said Marc Lenburg, PhD, associate professor in computational biomedicine and bioinformatics at BUSM and one of the study’s senior authors.

“What got us especially excited was that previous studies had shown that GHK could accelerate wound repair when applied to the skin,” said Joshua Campbell, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow working with Spira and Lenburg who served as the study’s first author. “This made us think that GHK could have potential as a therapy for COPD.”

“When we tested GHK on cells from the damaged lungs of smokers with COPD, we saw an improvement in the structure of their actin cytoskeleton and in cell adhesion, especially to collagen,” said James Hogg, MD, from the University of British Columbia and one of the study’s senior authors. “GHK also restored the ability of cells to reorganize themselves to repair wounds and construct the contractile filaments essential for alveolar tissue repair.”

GHK is a natural peptide found in human plasma, but the amount present decreases with age. While more testing needs to be done on its effects in COPD, these early results are very promising. Therapeutic studies with GHK in animal models of COPD are now underway with the ultimate goal of moving this compound into clinical trials. As more gene activity signatures are discovered, this method of matching drug to disease may provide a rapid method for discovering potential uses for existing drugs and compounds.

“Beyond the identification of a potential new COPD drug, the research team developed a cost-effective approach to study COPD at the molecular level across the entire lung, and then screen potential drug candidates,” said James Kiley, PhD, director of the NHLBI’s Division of Lung Diseases, who supported this work. “This work demonstrates the potential of using genomics data to drive clinical research.”

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Research reported in this published article was supported by the NHLBI under award number R01 HL095388 and through the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1 TR000157 (Boston University Clinical and Translational Science Institute). Researchers from the University of British Columbia, the University Medical Center Groningen and the University of Pennsylvania also collaborated on this study.

*Some material included in this press release was excerpted from Genome Medicine‘s press release: http://www.biomedcentral.com/presscenter/pressreleases/20120831a

Surprising finding that people with cystic fibrosis (CF) produce too little airway mucus – rather than too much..Common Medical Belief is Wrong

Shannon Koontz 336-716-4587 shkoontz@wfubmc.edu

Bob Conn 336-716-4587 rconn@wfubmc.edu

Mark Wright 336-716-4587 mwright@wfubmc.edu

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

Surprising finding could lead to new treatment for cystic fibrosis

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The surprising finding that people with cystic fibrosis (CF) produce too little airway mucus – rather than too much, as it commonly believed – could lead to more effective treatments for the genetic disorder, say researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“It has always been thought, but never proven, that CF causes the body to produce too much abnormally thick mucus that accumulates in the lungs and intestines,” said Bruce Rubin, M.D., professor of pediatrics. “However, we have now shown that these patients actually have very little mucus in their airways. This finding could change the way we think about CF treatment.”

The research is reported online today in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.

CF is a genetic disease that affects about 40,000 children and adults in the United States. The disease is characterized by frequent respiratory infections, breathing difficulties, and eventually, permanent lung damage. Physicians have always believed that the airways fill with mucus, which normally lubricates and protects the respiratory system. Because people with CF have chronic cough and infection it has long been assumed that the airways were full of mucus.

Rubin and colleagues, however, have shown otherwise. They collected sputum from 12 patients with CF and 11 participants without lung disease and analyzed the contents. Participants with CF had significantly less (70 percent and 93 percent) of two proteins that form mucus than participants with healthy lungs.

“This showed unequivocally there is much less mucus in the CF airway,” said Rubin, a pediatric pulmonologist at Wake Forest Baptist’s Brenner Children’s Hospital.

The research was conducted by Markus Henke, M.D., while he was completing a fellowship at Wake Forest Baptist in Rubin’s laboratory. He is now at Philipps-University in Marburg, Germany. Henke has since analyzed the sputum from 35 CF patients and said the results are consistent with the earlier findings.

The researchers have shown that the substance clogging the lungs of CF patients is actually pus. They suspect that the airway in CF patients is chronically infected and that it fills with pus. They also suspect that mucus may actually protect the airway from infection. To test their theory, they will conduct a study in animals to determine if mucus can effectively “soak up” the bacteria that they believe is reproducing in the airway of CF patients.

“If it turns out that mucus is protective against the bacteria, we may have a treatment for CF,” said Rubin. “We believe that by increasing the mucus in the airway early on, it may help prevent the infection. This certainly wouldn’t be a cure for CF, but it would make a wonderful difference in quality of life while a cure is being sought.”

Henke stressed that the finding applies to patients who are stable, and not having a flare-up of their disease that requires hospitalization.

Rubin said that if the animal research proves effective, treatment in humans might be available in the next five years.

“There are ways to increase mucus production in normal airways, we just need to show that they are also effective in CF airways,” he said.

The research was funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Rubin is the author of “Therapy for Mucus Clearance Disorders,” published by Dekker/NIH as part of a series on the biology of the lungs.

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About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,282 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

* Reposted at Request

Researchers Discover Why Steroid Treatment for COPD Is Ineffective

 

Findings Offer Potential New Drug Target for COPD Therapy

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) leads to persistent inflammation of the airways and is typically managed with corticosteroids, a class of anti-inflammatory medication. However, corticosteroids do not improve survival nor alter the progression of COPD and may reduce lung symptoms as little as 20 percent. A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found why corticosteroids do not work well for COPD patients and how additional treatment with sulforaphane—an ingredient of broccoli and other vegetables—can improve the effectiveness of corticosteroids. The study was published online October 17, 2011, in advance of print in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

COPD is a major public health problem for both the developed and the developing world, and is most often caused by cigarette smoking or exposure to pollutants from combustion. Characterized by chronic bronchitis and emphysema, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects 24 million Americans and 210 million people worldwide.

Histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2) is critical component in a chain of reactions that enable corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. However, HDAC2 is substantially reduced in the lung tissue of individuals with COPD. In the study, Johns Hopkins researchers found that S-nitrosylation causes HDAC2 dysfunction and leads to corticosteroid insensitivity in the alveolar macrophages of the lungs of individuals with COPD. S-nitrosylation of HDAC2 occurs from exposure to cigarette smoke, a primary cause of COPD.

“This study provides the mechanism of exaggerated inflammation observed in COPD patients during exacerbations, which has been a barrier to developing effective therapy,” said Rajesh Thimmulappa, PhD, co-author of the study and an assistant scientist in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

Furthermore, the research team found that treatment with sulforaphane restored HDAC2 activity and corticosteroid sensitivity. Previous studies by the research team showed sulforaphane activates the Nrf2 pathway (nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2) and it is being tested in clinical trial for patients with COPD.

“Restoring corticosteroid sensitivity in patients with COPD by targeting the Nrf2 pathway holds promise for effectively treating exacerbations,” said Shyam Biswal, PhD, senior author of the study and professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Purple periwinkles battle inflammatory diseases ( COPD Treatment Breakthrough )

Repost from 2010…Breakthrough treatment completely ignored

Natural supplement boasts excellent safety

A widely and safely used plant extract acts as a novel anti-inflammatory agent that may one day be used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, as well as other inflammatory conditions. There is an urgent need for new therapies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as COPD, otitis media (ear infection), and atherosclerosis (chronic inflammation in the walls of arteries), because the most effective and commonly used agents – steroids – often cause serious side effects, such as liver damage, which prevent long-term use. 

In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center were the first to find that vinpocetine, a natural product derived from the periwinkle plant, acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent when tested in a mouse model of lung inflammation, as well as several other types of human cells.  Results of the study show that vinpocetine greatly reduces inflammation, and, unlike steroids, does not cause severe side effects.

“What is extremely exciting and promising about these findings is vinpocetine’s excellent safety profile,” said Chen Yan, Ph.D., associate professor within the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Medical Center and a senior author of the study. “Previously, most drugs tested in this area have failed, not because of a lack of efficacy, but because of safety issues. We’re very encouraged by these results and believe vinpocetine has great potential for the treatment of COPD and other inflammatory diseases.”

Vinpocetine is a well-known natural product that was originally discovered nearly 30 years ago and is currently used as a dietary supplement for the prevention and treatment of cognitive disorders, such as stroke and memory loss, in Europe, Japan and China. The therapy has no evidence of toxicity or noticeable side effects in human patients. Scientists at the University of Rochester hope to reposition this compound as an anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of COPD, and potentially other inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, otitis media, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis and psoriasis in the future.

While steroids successfully combat inflammation, patients often pay a high price when it comes to side effects. Steroids can cause liver damage, and can also suppress the immune system, increasing the likelihood of infections. With such a high risk profile, steroids are usually only used for a short period of time, which is problematic when treating chronic diseases.

In managing chronic conditions such as COPD, it is crucial to have a therapy that can be used safely over the long term,” said Jian-Dong Li, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a senior author of the study. “There is a great need for a drug like vinpocetine, because patients currently have no good options when it comes to long-term care.” 

Vinpocetine decreases inflammation by targeting the activity of a specific enzyme, known as IKK. IKK is responsible for regulating inflammation, and does so through the activation of a key protein, nuclear-factor kappaB (NF-κB).  By directly inhibiting IKK, vinpocetine is able to switch off NF-κB, which normally produces pro-inflammatory molecules that cause inflammation. Halting the activity of NF-κB ultimately reduces inflammation.

“Inflammation is a hallmark of a wide range of human diseases, so there is great potential for vinpocetine to be used for several indications,” said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and co-author of the study. “Given vinpocetine’s efficacy and solid safety profile, we believe there is great potential to bring this drug to market.”

Repositioning a therapy – taking a known compound that has been used safely in humans and testing it for a new application – can be an effective way to bring new therapies to market more quickly than starting the discovery process from scratch.

Inflammatory diseases are a major cause of illness worldwide. For example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. In people with COPD, airflow is blocked due to chronic bronchitis or emphysema, making it increasingly difficult to breathe. Most COPD is caused by long-term smoking, although genetics may play a role as well. Approximately 13.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with COPD each year, and in 2004 the annual cost of the disease was $37.2 billion.